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Politics

Texas Legislature Hikes Age For Tobacco Use From 18 To 21

Texas will become the 15th state to raise the minimum age to 21 if Gov. Abbott signs the bill.

Texas is now just one step away from raising the legal age for tobacco use from 18 to 21. The bill has cleared the last hurdle in the Legislature and is heading for Gov. Greg Abbott's desk. The bill covers all forms of tobacco use, including e-cigarettes.

President of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Peter Pisters, said 18-to-21 year olds have traditionally been major suppliers of tobacco to younger friends.

"More than two-thirds of tenth grade students and nearly half of eighth grade students say it's easy to get a cigarette," Pisters said. "And so this Tobacco 21 policy obviously is designed in ways to make it much harder for the youth to get access to cigarettes and thereby avoid the risks associated with nicotine addiction."

If Gov. Abbott signs the bill, Texas will become the 15th state to raise the minimum age for tobacco use to 21. There are also more than 470 localities nationwide with the restriction, including San Antonio.

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MORE: Houston Matters host Craig Cohen discusses the potential change and efforts to address smoking among young people with Jennifer Cofer of MD Anderson and Stephanie Morain from Baylor College of Medicine.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew Schneider is the senior reporter for politics and government at Houston Public Media, NPR's affiliate station in Houston, Texas. In this capacity, he heads the station's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments...

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